A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Dubai vs. Shanghai for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Dubai or Shanghai?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Dubai and Shanghai can help you decide which place is right for you.

Dubai

Ever wonder what it would be like to see the lifestyles of the rich and famous up close. There's no more upscale destination than Dubai. It's by far and away the spot for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining and the most luxurious of luxury. As the most modern and progressive of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, this area has experienced an unbelievable economic boom and tourism spike. It's a desert city with an amazing infrastructure.

Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest and most modern city in China. With a population of over 23 million, it is the economic and financial hub of the country. It also continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in China with regular changes to the city's layout and skyline. It is not uncommon for buildings to be torn down, rebuilt and then torn down and rebuilt again. The city also has skyscrapers that rank among the tallest in the world. It has an ever changing downtown and street scape. In Shanghai, the general mantra remains "out with the old, in with the new".

Which city is cheaper, Shanghai or Dubai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Dubai is $198, while the average daily cost in Shanghai is $104. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Dubai and Shanghai in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $272 in Dubai For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $146 for a double occupancy room in Shanghai.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dubai $136
    Shanghai $73
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dubai $272
    Shanghai $146

Food

The average traveler spends about $45 per day in Dubai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

The average traveler spends about $19 per day in Shanghai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Dubai $45
    Shanghai $19
Typical Food prices in Dubai

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Dubai:


  • French bread
    $0.95
  • Sumo salad in Dubai Mall + Juice
    $10
  • Lemon Mint Tea
    $4.36
  • Coffee & Cake
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $5.44
  • Shawarma
    $1.91

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dubai

For Dubai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Romantic Dhow Creek Dinner Cruise With Live Shows and International Buffet: $17
  • Sightseeing Dhow Cruise Dinner: $18
  • Dubai Deira Cruise with International Buffet Dinner with Live Shows: $19
  • Cruising with Dinner and Live Shows at Dubai Creek: $20
  • Dubai Creek Dhow Cruise Dinner: $20
  • Dhow Dinner Cruise at Dubai Creek (Without Transfers): $20
  • Sail along the Dubai Creek Dhow cruise with a delectable Dinner from AED 60: $21
  • Sightseeing Romantic Dhow Cruise Dinner: $21
  • Dhow Cruise Dinner Dubai: $22
  • Dhow Cruise Dinner on Dubai Creek: $22
  • Evening Dhow Dinner Cruise in Dubai: $22
  • Dubai Creek 2-Hour Romantic Dhow Cruise Dinner: $23

Typical Food prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.57
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $23
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $8.14
  • Cantelope
    $1.88
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.35
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.70
  • Pastries
    $3.29
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $10

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Shanghai.

  • Online Chinese Cooking Class: $22
  • Chengdu Private Food Tour (With Visit to Kuanzhai Alley and Hotpot Experience): $32
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • Cooking Class of Dumplings and Chinese Buns: $56
  • 3-Hour Shanghai Summer Night Local Dinner and Shopping Private Tour: $65
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $69
  • Private Authentic Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with a Lovely Local: $70
  • 3-Hour Shanghai City Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Shanghai yummy food tour: $75
  • Chinese Cooking Class in a Family Home: $75
  • Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum and Sanxingdui Museum Private Day Tour with Hotpot Dinner: $76
  • Dim Sum Cooking Class and Wet Market Visit in Shanghai: $78

Local Transportation

Dubai's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $10 per person, per day on transportation in Dubai.

The average price of local transportation around Shanghai is $3.51 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Dubai $10
    Shanghai $3.51
Typical Local Transportation prices in Dubai

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Dubai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $12
  • Airport Taxi
    $12
  • Sea Taxi
    $0.54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dubai

Also for Dubai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Ultra - Dubai Private Airport Transfer from Dubai Airport DXB to city centre: $8.73
  • Ultra - Dubai Private Airport Transfer from city centre to Dubai Airport DXB: $8.73
  • Ultra - Dubai Private Airport Transfer from Dubai Airport DXB to Jumeirah Beach: $8.73
  • Ultra - Dubai Private Airport Transfer from Jumeirah Beach to Dubai Airport DXB: $8.73
  • Shared Transfers from Dubai Hotels to Ski Dubai/Wild Wadi: $15
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Dubai to Dubai Airport (DXB): $17
  • Private Airport Transfer: Dubai Airport (DXB) to Dubai: $17
  • Shared Transfers from Dubai Hotels to Dubai Frame: $18
  • Sharing Transfers from Dubai Hotels to Dubai Mall (Burj Khalifa, VR Parks, DAUZ): $18
  • Shared Transfers from Dubai Hotels to Aquaventure/Lost Chamber: $18
  • Shopping Tour with Sharing Transfers: $19
  • Dubai City tour with Abra Ride on Sharing Transfers: $20

Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.07
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.94

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Day tour of Xi'an From Shanghai Including Transfer Service: $1,100
  • Private Mutianyu Great Wall Tour From Shanghai's Hotel Including Transfer: $1,100
  • Private Beijing One Day Tour From Shanghai 's Hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,036
  • Private Day Tour Of Beijing From Shanghai's Hotel Including Flight And Transfer: $1,000
  • Private Day Trip Of Xi'an From Your Shanghai's hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,000
  • 2-Day Huangshan Tour by Cable Car with Private Transfer and Lunch from Shanghai: $653
  • 3 Days Shanghai Suzhou Tour Package with Airport Transfer: $555
  • 1-way Transfer Between Shanghai Pudong Airport and Yiwu Per Vehicle Price: $388
  • Shanghai Luxury Airport Transfer: $332
  • Private City Transfers between Zhongshan and Hong Kong: $313
  • Private City Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $296
  • Private City Transfers between Guangzhou and Hong Kong: $283

Is it cheaper to fly into Dubai or Shanghai?

Prices for flights to both Shanghai and Dubai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Dubai can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $15 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Shanghai's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.65 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dubai $15
    Shanghai $7.65
Typical Entertainment prices in Dubai

For Dubai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Visit to the Dubai Museum
    $0.82

Tours and Activities in Dubai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Dubai.

  • Dubai Full-Day Global Village Tickets: $4.11
  • Global Village Entry Tickets: $4.11
  • Global Village Entry Ticket: $4.19
  • Skip the Line: Global Village Ticket: $4.32
  • Global Village Dubai (Ticket): $4.85
  • Dubai Global Village Entrance Ticket: $5.20
  • Dubai Marina: Explore its activities & attractions on this audio walking tour: $5.50
  • Resident Marina Sightseeing Tour: $12
  • Dubai City Tour, Dubai: $12
  • Dubai Virtual City Tour With Live Video Chat Commentary: $15
  • Flying Cup Experience Ticket Dubai: $17
  • Dubai by Night City Tour: $17

Typical Entertainment prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:


  • 30 Minute River Cruise for Two
    $31
  • Zoo for Two
    $16

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shanghai are as follows:

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 1 Day Bus Tour in Amazing Shanghai Highlights: $113
  • 1 Day Hangzhou Private Tour: $312
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Day of Shanghai Premiere Experience: $730
  • 1 day Nanjing tour from Shanghai by train: $400
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1-Day Authentic Shanghai Tour by Walking & Metro: $193
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $204
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai to Wuzhen Tour to Admire the Classical Water Town: $271
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Hangzhou by car from Shanghai: $305

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Dubai, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $18.

The average person spends about $6.67 on alcoholic beverages in Shanghai per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dubai $18
    Shanghai $6.67
Typical Alcohol prices in Dubai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Dubai:


  • A Couple Drinks
    $25

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255
  • 3 Hour Local Craft Beer Crawl with Brewery Tour: $350


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Dubai and Shanghai, we can see that Dubai is more expensive. And not only is Shanghai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Dubai is in Middle East and Shanghai is in Asia, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Shanghai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shanghai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Dubai would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Dubai than you might in Shanghai.

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Dubai vs. Shanghai Travel Comparison

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